Norwegian Wood

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“Here, see if you can make me something with this”, the liquor rep taunted as he dropped a bottle of aquavit on the bar. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I don’t really work that well under pressure. I try, but it literally takes me weeks to come up with a new drink that I’m happy with. Maybe I’m slow, maybe I’m a perfectionist, doesn’t matter: I hate it when I have to work under pressure.

So I was especially vexed when this particular wiseass handed me a bottle of aquavit. For those of you who don’t know, is a traditional Scandinavian liquor flavored with caraway and – typically – other herbs such as fennel and anise. It’s delicious, but it’s unique and isn’t known for its superb mixability.

However, I knew the liquor boob was insinuating that I might not be able to rise to the challenge, so I whipped this up (after about three false starts). A small handful of visitors to the bar at Clyde Common have suggested that it might be one of the best drinks I’ve come up with so far, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. I just think it tastes delicious.

Norwegian Wood Print Me

  • 1 oz/30 ml aquavit
  • 1 oz/30 ml applejack
  • ¾ oz/22.5 ml sweet vermouth
  • ¼ oz/7.5 ml yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
  3. Garnish with a large twist of lemon peel and serve.

Recipe printed courtesy of

41 Replies to “Norwegian Wood”

  • Carl Busch says:

    We just made this cocktail for the first time last week and it was great! My wife and I weren’t to familiar with Aquavit and was looking for recipes and found this one.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Jeffrey,
    Long time fan. Subbed Strega for the Yellow Chartreuse and called it a Norwegian Witch.

  • Jay says:

    I know I’m 5 years late to this game. But I had to comment – found this today and it Is a terrific drink. The Aquavit for me is like Absinthe but more subtle. Very sophisticated and layer cocktail. The only thing I’m not so fond of is the name. So Mrs. Jay and I Will begin affectionately referring to this as the “AquaJack”

  • Justin says:

    Did you do a barrel aged version of this about a year or so back? I feel like I may of had this when we visited Clyde Common early March 2011.
    I have been wanting to make this at home, but don’t have any aquavit. I will give it a shot with Brennivin my buddy brought me from Iceland.

  • Mike says:


    I *finally* find a drink recipe for Aquavit so that I can see if it’s a way to drink up the bottle that has been in my freezer for 15 years. What’s more, it contains Applejack, and I have the last half-inch of a small bottle in my liquor cabinet! Wait, since I enjoy Manhattans, I also have bitters and sweet vermouth in the house !!

    And now I have to find a store that sells Chartreuse . . .

  • Brock says:

    My taste for Aquavit started with a cocktail at Beaker & Flask: The Norwegian Negroni using Aquavit instead of Gin and Cynar instead of Campari.

    I have yet to get it as good as they have.

  • Charlton says:

    Okay, I’ve now tried a few variations of this, so I thought I’d report back on them. I’ve mixed and matched two aquavits, Skåne and Herr Gårds, and two vermouths, Martini & Rossi and Noilly Prat. My favorite combination is the Herr Gårds and M&R. I found the Skåne gets lost in the mix of flavors, but the Herr Gårds stands up better. Herr Gårds is an aged aquavit that uses O.P. Anderson as its base spirit and adds some additional flavorings, a touch of scotch, and ages in sherry casks. Tasty on its own and in this. I like the M&R better than the NP in this because it’s a little sweeter and I find this a very dry drink overall. My dad also enjoyed it, but my mom hated it. I’ll have to get my boat partners to give it a try next time we get together.

  • It’s a Beatles reference. Rubber Soul is one of my favorite of their albums, and Norwegian Wood is one of my favorite of their songs.

  • napplegate says:

    is the name reference to the song by the beatles or the beautiful novel by murakami?

  • I’m using unaged aquavit because I think it brings more flavor to the party than the softer, oak-aged aquavits I’ve tried. But do play with it and report your findings back here!

  • Charlton says:

    Jeff, I just came across this recipe and am intrigued for a number of reasons: 1. I am a fan of aquavit; and 2. I am part owner of a boat named Norwegian Wood. We’ve been drinking Dark ‘n’ Stormys for years, but once we try this, it may have to become our new official boat cocktail. Question: what kind of aquavit do you recommend? I’m sure you are aware there are many and their flavors can vary widely. In the picture, I see Krogstad; I don’t know that one, but I have a few on hand. I’m thinking the Herr Gards would probably work well, but would welcome your suggestions.

  • Matt Towers says:

    How timely! I just received a new bottle of aquavit and was looking for something new to make with it. Thanks!

    While looking for some tiki recipes today, I also found this one that looks fun. The Spinnaker Swizzle

  • Brian Rea says:

    Yah Sure, that’s one hell of a fine combination, Jeff!
    If you don’t mind, would like to list same in the next issue, which will be a bit tardy due to recovery time needed after Tales.
    Medic! the loungasaurus

  • The Aquavit man must be making the rounds – this is the second aquavit recipe I’ve seen from Portland this month – saw the Hemingway Solution from Vessel over on Chanticleer Society. Once you have a bottle of aquavit (or worse, Kummel) what do with it: after one party of drinking shots out of the freezer or making Silver Bullets ( gin,kummel,lemon juice) … well, thanks for another recipe!

    We’ve been on a short run of applejack cocktails, so its nice to have more to try. We also liked the applejack / chartreuse combination in the Diamondback (rye, applejack, chartreuse), which showed up recently in Mixology Monday.

  • steve says:

    you are jesus, man. thank god for you.

  • SeanMike says:

    Hey Jeffrey,

    Made one of these yesterday – delicious! Marshall and Rick enjoyed it, too.

    Now get to work on your next drink…:-)

  • Mike Robertson says:

    Hello Jeff, I’m looking forward to trying this. I just have to get in some Yellow Chartreuse. At the Driftwood we’ve been using the Krogstad as a float on our King Kong (a bloody mary made with Hot Monkey and cilantro). We also have one called the Old Tom Cocktail
    1 1/4 oz Ransom Gin
    1/2 oz Krogstad Aquavit
    1/2 oz Agwa (Bolivian coca leaf liqueur)
    1/2 oz fresh lime
    1/2 oz simple syrup
    2 dashes Fee Bros. barrel aged bitters.
    I also like the Aquavit in place of Absinthe in cocktails. The Jamie Jab was excellent!

  • Mike S. says:

    So I’ve never before tasted Aquavit, and know next to nothing about it. Based entirely upon this recipe, and the comments above, I bought a bottle (Lysholm Linie, as if that means anything to me) this evening on the way home from work just so I could given this one a go. I had everything else in what I thought, previously, was my extremely well-stocked home bar, so the risk seemed minimal.

    I made mine with the aforementioned Linie, Laird’s Bonded (I don’t tend to keep the mixto version), Cinzano sweet vermouth and yellow Chartreuse. This drink is *seriously* good and a wonderful intro to what stands a chance of becoming a new favorite liquor. Thanks sincerely for the recipe and the push to expand my booze horizons even further.

    All that said, what’s with that name? “Norwegian Wood”? Really? Well, ok, if you say so….



  • Tokyo Tea says:

    Right there with you buddy. One of my aquavit recipes is a spin off of the Negroni. “Bizarre Love Triangle” is 1 ounce of Aquavit, Cynar and Punt e Mus with a flaming orange peel for garnish. And you are much less of a slacker than me, Jeffrey, but structured recipes always have variables (base spirits, liqueurs, bitters, etc.) we can monkey with. If you try the recipe above then please also try with 3/4 oz of Cynar and Punt e Mus (my pref) and let me know your thoughts.

  • Sylvan and Garretto – Try it with green Chartreuse and see how you like it. It was a little overpowering for my taste, but perhaps you’ll enjoy it more.

  • Seems like the double base spirit, vermouth, herbal liqueur and bitters combo was certainly an inspiration, huh? No sense in reinventing the wheel, at least not when you’re a slacker like me.

  • Tokyo Tea says:

    Kinda noticed that it has a similar portion structure to a Vieux Carre with the 1/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse instead of benedictine and revved up portion of apple brandy and aquavit instead of rye and brandy. any inspiration form the V.C. Am I just high and over-analyzing or was their any inspiration derived?

  • Garretto says:

    I’m going to second “sylvan”‘s question in regards to using Green Chartreuse in a smaller dose.
    What do you think? I’ll need to spring for the Aquavit and don’t see much more use for another bottle of Chartreuse.
    The drink sounds great (big fan of all your creations)and if I can’t get around the yellow, I’ll have to bite the bullet later.
    The AXE Body Spray/lapel jab is hilarious!

  • caskproof says:

    sounds great. I will mix one up in my mad scientist lab later today. I especially like the use of the chartreuse. I think it’s gonna lend a really nice hand to the cocktail.

  • Thanks, Grant. And thank you, Beaumont, for keeping such wonderful tabs on the frequency of my posting. Really appreciate it 😉

  • Grant Muller says:

    Alright, tried one last night, pretty fantastic! Nice way to soften the caraway in the aquavit without obliterating it completely.

  • Now boys, play nice!

    I must say, though, I’m baffled by this whole “working fast” line, Jeffrey. It has been something like two weeks or more since your last post, so whatever have you been doing with yourself other than making up new drinks?

    On a slightly more serious note, this does look quite tasty. Now all I need to do is get my hands on some aquavit and applejack up here in state-controlled Ontario…

  • Drink sounds delicious. I will be giving it a try tomorrow at work for sure. I am really interested because I have been playing with a somewhat similar recipe calling for aquavit, apricot brandy, and Becherovka (admittedly weird addition). The two drinks probably don’t have all that much in common now that I write it out, but hey, it is good to know the aquavit supporters are growing. Keep the good work in addition to the hilarious jabs between you and Jamie.

  • Jamie – I’m so glad you liked the drink. I was surprised that you were able to taste any of it after dribbling half a mouthful all over your shirt, so kudos to you for being able to discern the difference between Chartreuse and AXE Body Spray as you licked up the remainder from your giant lapels.

    With love,


  • Jamie B says:

    It was the first (and only) drink you’ve made for me. I didn’t hurl, which was so much more than I expected. I did leave promptly to drink at Teardrop, however.
    In all seriousness: love the drink! Who helped you with it?

  • Thanks, everyone. Glad you like the drink!

  • Jacob says:

    This might be favorite drink on Clyde’s menu right now. Nice work!

  • jonny raglin says:

    sounds delicious. i am making one tomorrow mornin as my bracer before work! thanks for sharing.

  • Robert Hess says:

    Drinking one right now. Dee-Lish-Us! It has a nice bright crispness along with a well layered complexity. Perhaps not one for the novice, but when you’re ready for a little adventure, I’d definately pull this one out.

  • Stacy says:

    I had the Norwegian Wood over Memorial Day weekend and loved it. I believe it’s the first time I’ve had Aquavit and thought it was quite good. Thanks for sharing!

  • sylvan says:

    Who says aquavit isn’t mixable? Try a Linie and tonic sometime.

    Thoughts on green Chartreuse in this one? Maybe use a little less?

  • Grant Muller says:

    Wow, I actually have all of these in my bar. I rather like aquavit, so why not give it a shot…will let you know.

  • Eugenia says:

    This one is absolutely one of my favorites of yours, Jeff. I’m so glad you’ve perfected your recipe!

  • Jeff Frane says:

    I will ignore the sweet siren song of a new Morgenthaler recipe, ignore the fact that all ingredients except the aquavit are in the cabinet . . .

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